Liberal Democrats believe that European co-operation is the best way for Britain to be strong, safe and inﬂuential in the future. We will ensure that Britain maximises its inﬂuence through a strong and positive commitment... Work through the European Union for stricter international regulation of ﬁnancial services and banking... Work with other countries... including bringing forward urgent proposals for a ﬁnancial transaction tax
Liberal Democrat manifesto, May 2010
What Clegg said on Friday morning, in the wake of Cameron's disastrous departure from the negotiating table:
"The demands Britain made for safeguards, on which the coalition government was united, were modest and reasonable. They were safeguards for the single market, not just the UK. There were no demands of repatriation of powers from the EU to Britain and no demands for a unilateral carve-out of UK financial services. What we sought to ensure was to maintain a level playing field in financial services and the single market as a whole. This would have retained the UK's ability to take tougher, not looser, regulatory action to sort out our banking system."
Hague insisted the coalition was on board with the deal as he confirmed that the Liberal deputy prime minister and the chancellor, George Osborne, had been kept abreast of developments by Cameron. He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that Clegg "signed up" to what had happened.
Just 24 hours after appearing to back Cameron, sources close to Clegg made clear that the deputy prime minister believed the PM had been guilty of serious negotiating failures that risked damaging the national interest, British jobs and economic growth.
Clegg's fury puts the coalition under the most severe strain since its formation 19 months ago, with Europe now seen by some MPs as a potential "deal breaker".
One source said Clegg "couldn't believe it" when he was woken at 4am in his flat in Sheffield to be told that talks on how to save the euro at the Brussels summit had "spectacularly unravelled".
Accusing Cameron of failing to play the diplomatic game effectively, the source added: "He could not believe that Cameron hadn't tried to play for more time. A menu of choices wasn't deployed as a negotiating tool but instead was presented as a take it or leave it ultimatum. That is not how he [Clegg] would have played Britain's hand."
I think Cameron was right to use the veto on changes to the treaties. It is entirely right that the 17 Eurozone countries resolve how to get greater fiscal unity which is essential for the success of the Euro and consequential success of the UK. However, that does not mean that we have to sign up to that. We should not try to stand in their way and prevent them resolving their difficulties. However, it is not surprising that unanimity amongst the 27 EU states is difficult to achieve.